Friday, December 19, 2014

"But I don't read fiction!"

Everybody has that friend. You know, the one who says they only read biographies, or books about current affairs or sports or - well, you get the drift.  If you're stuck (and, by now, running out of time!) here are some ideas.

For the sports fan:

The Best American Sports Writing 2014 by Christopher McDougall and Glenn Stout (Mariner Books trade paperback, 7 October 2014).

From more than 350 national, regional, and specialty publications and, increasingly, the top sports blogs, Christopher McDougall, best-selling author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, hand-selected the very best sports journalism of the past year.  

For the music lover:

Live at the Fillmore East and West by John Glatt (

In 1968, rock promoter Bill Graham launched the Fillmore East in New York City and the Fillmore West in San Francisco, changing music forever. For three years, every major rock band played the Fillmores, performing legendary shows: Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, Cream, the Allman Brothers, and many more.
Chronicling the East and West Coast cultures of the late ’60s and early '70s—New York City with its speed, heroin, and the Velvet Underground versus San Francisco with the LSD-drenched Summer of Love—Glatt reveals how Graham the made it all possible . 

For the foodie:

A Kitchen in France:  A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse by Mimi Thorisson (Clarkson Potter hardcover, 28 October 2014).

When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home.

For the history buff:

In the Kingdom of Ice:  The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides (Doubleday hardcover, 5 August 2014).

In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores. 
On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever."  With twists and turns worthy of a thriller, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.

For the spy buff:

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre (Crown Publishing hardcover, 29 July 2014).

Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War—while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s best friend and fellow officer in MI6. 
But Philby was secretly betraying his friend. Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow—and not just Elliott’s words, for in America, Philby had made another powerful friend: James Jesus Angleton, the crafty, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence. 
The stunning truth of his betrayal would have devastating consequences on the two men who thought they knew him best, and on the intelligence services he left crippled in his wake.

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